Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

It’s Time to Hit the Books

Published on September 3, 2013 by   ·   No Comments Pin It
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Symbolizing knowledge, books can be a great and wonderful support in the home, as long as you know how to manage them.  Too many books can feel “heavy” energetically, weighing down the home; but if organized, dust-free, and strategically placed on spacious shelves, they can also work as a grounding tool, especially if placed in an area where slowing down is the intent—a reading room or reading nook.

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I will start by dispelling some myths I’ve heard over the years.

“Books in the bedroom are bad feng shui”

Beware of absolute rules about what constitutes “good” or “bad” feng shui.  Feng shui is about balance.  Books in the bedroom are not “bad” per se, but you do not want too many overtaking the space.  The main purpose of the bedroom is for sleep and intimacy, and too many books shift the energy away from those two main activities.

The books in your bedroom should promote a harmonious flow of nurturing and intimate energy, pulling you in, yet igniting calm passion.  With that thought in mind, the type of books you keep in the bedroom is pivotal.  Survey the books in terms of the “energetic messages” they convey.  For example, “How to Create More Love” or “Honoring Myself,” is better in the bedroom than Nightmare on Elm Street or Avoid Dying Broke.  You get the idea.

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“Bookshelves have to be covered”

Some say that uncovered bookshelves housing hardcover books with sharp edges create a cutting energy in the space.  To avoid this, use fabric to cover the shelves or cover them with doors.  Personally, I like to see my books.  If you are like me, style a bookshelf to become a room accessory, using your uncovered bookshelf to advantage (explained below).

How to part with books

From time to time, book lovers have to ask themselves, “What do I do with all these books?”  Below is a downsizing idea that will help you decide what to do with your cherished books when the time comes.

Count how many books you have

Go through every bookshelf or box of books and count the number of books you have.  Then, set a goal, such as decreasing the number of books you own by 20%.”  Next, do the math.  If you have 100 books, you will have to let go of 20 of them. Picking out those 20 books is much easier than you think.  I promise.

If you need parameters, ask yourself these questions to help you decide what to let go of.

  • Have I read it? Will I ever read it again? Keep what you haven’t read.

  • Dispose of “expired” books, such as medical reference and travel books you have had over “x” number of years.

  • If you have cookbooks whose recipes you have never used, you probably never will.

  • If you need an answer about the topic of the book, will you look for it in the particular book, or will you look it up on the Internet?

  • Do you have it on your electronic reader?

Avoid packing any books for storage.  You will more than likely be moving clutter from one place to another, and it is unlikely that you will go through boxes just to find that one book you want to read.

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What can you do with these books?

  • Donate your books to books4cause.com or sell them to Powells.com or cash4books.net.  Both websites cover shipping costs.   You can also donate them to the library, Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or a school.  Before donating old or unwanted reading material, consider their condition. Generally speaking, only new, gently read or lightly used books are accepted for donation. Magazines are rarely accepted, but are usually recyclable.  Schools will accept books if they are historical or biographical or will be a good resource for the school’s library.

  • If you have the time and energy, sell them on Amazon.com or eBay

Bookshelf feng shui

As far as good bookshelf feng shui goes, the better the books are situated, the more likely you are to want to read them, so follow these guidelines:

  1. Create a system.  Organize the books by title, subject, or author.  Do what works for you, and in the process you will get reacquainted with what you have.

  2. Dust them off.  Dust accumulates around books, making them uninviting, hampering the mental energy in the home, and impairing your focus in life.

  3. Leave space. Leave blocks of space on your bookshelves for figurines, decorative bookends, paperweights, or anything visually pleasing, turning your bookshelf into a decorative eye-catching room accessory.

You will be amazed at how clearing out and dressing up just one bookcase will change the energy of your home.  Just like the rippling water of a pond when a stone is skipped across it, positive energy is created and will permeate your entire home.

Is it time for you to do some book culling?  Why not give your books a new life?  When it’s less painful to purchase your books than it is to dig them out, it is time to do some de-cluttering.

Alice Inoue is a life guide at Alice Inoue Life Guidance, LLC, a company committed to assisting people in living empowered lives. Alice shares her wisdom as a professional speaker and personal consultant. Visit www.aliceinspired.com to read her blog, sign up for her newsletters, and download useful feng shui tips.

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Gina’s previous vision of sitting in the empty flat, languidly considering one item at a time from a single box evaporated. She tipped four boxes of bedding into the corner of her bedroom, and wrote “KEEP,” “SELL,” “GIVE AWAY,” “DUMP” on the empty cases in big letters, lining them up in the limited space in front of the sofa. Then she took a deep breath and pulled the brown tape off the nearest box. Everything was bubble-wrapped and at first Gina couldn’t work out what the first item was, but as she unrolled the plastic, she saw it was an antique blue glass vase. She had to think twice about where it had come from, then remembered that she’d bought it when she was at university. I loved this, she thought, surprised. Where’s it been? A memory slipped into the forefront of her mind, of stopping outside the window of a junk shop in Oxford . . . fifteen years ago now? It had been drizzling, she’d been late for a lecture, but something about the curved shape had leaped out of the cluttered display, a suspended raindrop of bright cobalt blue in the middle of a load of tatty brass and china. Gina could picture it in her rooms at college, on the window overlooking a courtyard, but she struggled to remember where it had been in Dryden Road: in the landing alcove with some dried lavender in it. There, but invisible, just filling a space. She sat back on her heels, feeling the weight of the glass. The vase had cost twenty-five pounds—a fortune in her student days—and had always been full of striped tulips from the market, left until they decayed in that pretentious student style, falling in tissue thinness onto the stone ledge of her windowsill. Kit had started it: he’d brought her flowers on his first visit, and she’d been unable to bring herself to throw them out. And after someone had said, “Oh, you’re the girl who always has flowers!” Gina had made a point of keeping the vase full because she wanted to be the Girl Who Always Had Flowers. At least I don’t do that anymore, she thought, with a twinge of embarrassment at how much she’d wanted people to like her at university. She wasn’t in touch with a single one of them now. Gina started to put the vase into the GIVE AWAY box; over the years she’d collected lots of different vases, for lilies, hyacinths, roses. She didn’t need one that reminded her of Kit, and of all the expectations she’d had at university of where her life would be by now. All her life, she realized, she’d been creating this paper trail of possessions, hoping that they’d keep her attached to her own memories, but now she’d found out they didn’t. The last years meant nothing. They were gone. All the photo albums in the world wouldn’t keep them real. But as she held it, she stopped seeing those things and instead saw a vase. A rather nice vase that made Gina think that, actually, she’d had a bit of an eye for quality even as a student. Its bold sculptural shape had got lost in Dryden Road’s collage of color and detail, but it was perfect for this flat. The white background reframed it: it was still a beautiful frozen raindrop of glass, bright cobalt blue, ready for flowers to fill it. Gina edged around the boxes until she was in front of the big picture window, and placed the vase squarely in the center of the windowsill, where the sun would shine through it as it had done at college, revealing the murky wet shapes of the flower stems, rigid below the papery petals. She stood for a moment, trying to catch the slippery emotions swirling in her chest. Then a cloud moved outside and the last light of the day deepened the blue of the glass. As it glowed against the blank white sill, something twitched inside her, a memory nudging its way back to the surface. Not of an event but of a feeling, the same bittersweet fizz she’d felt when she’d unpacked her belongings in her university room, waiting for the happiest days of her life to roar around the corner, despite her secret worry that maybe she’d already had them, anticipation sharpened with a lick of fear. Was that a memory? Was it just the same feeling in a different place? Because her life was starting again now too? Gina took a deep breath. She wasn’t going to keep the vase because it reminded her of college or because a visitor might be impressed with her good taste. She was keeping it because she liked it. And when she looked at it, it made her happy. It caught the light, even on a gray day. It was beautiful. She hadn’t bought it for her student rooms. She’d bought it fifteen years ago—for this flat. The blue glass vase glowed in the weak, wintry sunshine, and the white flat didn’t look quite so white anymore. Gina stood for a long minute, letting nothing into her head except the liquid swoop and the deep, jewel-like color. Then, with a more confident hand, she reached into the box for the next ball of bubble-wrap. Lucy Dillon lives in Herefordshire, England with her pair of basset hounds, Bonham and Violet.  Visit her online at www.facebook.com/LucyDillonBooks. […]
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It had been drizzling, she’d been late for a lecture, but something about the curved shape had leaped out of the cluttered display, a suspended raindrop of bright cobalt blue in the middle of a load of tatty brass and china. Gina could picture it in her rooms at college, on the window overlooking a courtyard, but she struggled to remember where it had been in Dryden Road: in the landing alcove with some dried lavender in it. There, but invisible, just filling a space. She sat back on her heels, feeling the weight of the glass. The vase had cost twenty-five pounds—a fortune in her student days—and had always been full of striped tulips from the market, left until they decayed in that pretentious student style, falling in tissue thinness onto the stone ledge of her windowsill. Kit had started it: he’d brought her flowers on his first visit, and she’d been unable to bring herself to throw them out. And after someone had said, “Oh, you’re the girl who always has flowers!” Gina had made a point of keeping the vase full because she wanted to be the Girl Who Always Had Flowers. At least I don’t do that anymore, she thought, with a twinge of embarrassment at how much she’d wanted people to like her at university. She wasn’t in touch with a single one of them now. Gina started to put the vase into the GIVE AWAY box; over the years she’d collected lots of different vases, for lilies, hyacinths, roses. She didn’t need one that reminded her of Kit, and of all the expectations she’d had at university of where her life would be by now. All her life, she realized, she’d been creating this paper trail of possessions, hoping that they’d keep her attached to her own memories, but now she’d found out they didn’t. The last years meant nothing. They were gone. All the photo albums in the world wouldn’t keep them real. But as she held it, she stopped seeing those things and instead saw a vase. A rather nice vase that made Gina think that, actually, she’d had a bit of an eye for quality even as a student. Its bold sculptural shape had got lost in Dryden Road’s collage of color and detail, but it was perfect for this flat. The white background reframed it: it was still a beautiful frozen raindrop of glass, bright cobalt blue, ready for flowers to fill it. Gina edged around the boxes until she was in front of the big picture window, and placed the vase squarely in the center of the windowsill, where the sun would shine through it as it had done at college, revealing the murky wet shapes of the flower stems, rigid below the papery petals. She stood for a moment, trying to catch the slippery emotions swirling in her chest. Then a cloud moved outside and the last light of the day deepened the blue of the glass. As it glowed against the blank white sill, something twitched inside her, a memory nudging its way back to the surface. Not of an event but of a feeling, the same bittersweet fizz she’d felt when she’d unpacked her belongings in her university room, waiting for the happiest days of her life to roar around the corner, despite her secret worry that maybe she’d already had them, anticipation sharpened with a lick of fear. Was that a memory? Was it just the same feeling in a different place? Because her life was starting again now too? Gina took a deep breath. She wasn’t going to keep the vase because it reminded her of college or because a visitor might be impressed with her good taste. She was keeping it because she liked it. And when she looked at it, it made her happy. It caught the light, even on a gray day. It was beautiful. She hadn’t bought it for her student rooms. She’d bought it fifteen years ago—for this flat. The blue glass vase glowed in the weak, wintry sunshine, and the white flat didn’t look quite so white anymore. 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The flat was completely crammed with cardboard boxes. Crammed, from floor to ceiling. The movers had left a narrow corridor through the spare room so she could get inside, and they’d lined two walls of her bedroom with wardrobe crates. The sitting room was now two-thirds filled, the white walls lost behind brown ones. She had to turn sideways to get into the kitchen-diner. Her possessions loomed over her every way she looked. Gina was stunned by the unexpected invasion. It felt crushing, claustrophobic. Before her shock could tip over into tears, she started pushing the boxes away from the big white wall, where her special painting was to go. She needed to be able to see that wall, even if every other one was blocked. Her muscles ached as she dragged the heavy boxes around but she forced herself on. I’ve got to start sorting right now, she told herself, or I’ll never be able to sit down. Gina’s previous vision of sitting in the empty flat, languidly considering one item at a time from a single box evaporated. She tipped four boxes of bedding into the corner of her bedroom, and wrote “KEEP,” “SELL,” “GIVE AWAY,” “DUMP” on the empty cases in big letters, lining them up in the limited space in front of the sofa. Then she took a deep breath and pulled the brown tape off the nearest box. Everything was bubble-wrapped and at first Gina couldn’t work out what the first item was, but as she unrolled the plastic, she saw it was an antique blue glass vase. She had to think twice about where it had come from, then remembered that she’d bought it when she was at university. I loved this, she thought, surprised. Where’s it been? A memory slipped into the forefront of her mind, of stopping outside the window of a junk shop in Oxford . . . fifteen years ago now? It had been drizzling, she’d been late for a lecture, but something about the curved shape had leaped out of the cluttered display, a suspended raindrop of bright cobalt blue in the middle of a load of tatty brass and china. Gina could picture it in her rooms at college, on the window overlooking a courtyard, but she struggled to remember where it had been in Dryden Road: in the landing alcove with some dried lavender in it. There, but invisible, just filling a space. She sat back on her heels, feeling the weight of the glass. The vase had cost twenty-five pounds—a fortune in her student days—and had always been full of striped tulips from the market, left until they decayed in that pretentious student style, falling in tissue thinness onto the stone ledge of her windowsill. Kit had started it: he’d brought her flowers on his first visit, and she’d been unable to bring herself to throw them out. And after someone had said, “Oh, you’re the girl who always has flowers!” Gina had made a point of keeping the vase full because she wanted to be the Girl Who Always Had Flowers. At least I don’t do that anymore, she thought, with a twinge of embarrassment at how much she’d wanted people to like her at university. She wasn’t in touch with a single one of them now. Gina started to put the vase into the GIVE AWAY box; over the years she’d collected lots of different vases, for lilies, hyacinths, roses. She didn’t need one that reminded her of Kit, and of all the expectations she’d had at university of where her life would be by now. All her life, she realized, she’d been creating this paper trail of possessions, hoping that they’d keep her attached to her own memories, but now she’d found out they didn’t. The last years meant nothing. They were gone. All the photo albums in the world wouldn’t keep them real. But as she held it, she stopped seeing those things and instead saw a vase. A rather nice vase that made Gina think that, actually, she’d had a bit of an eye for quality even as a student. Its bold sculptural shape had got lost in Dryden Road’s collage of color and detail, but it was perfect for this flat. The white background reframed it: it was still a beautiful frozen raindrop of glass, bright cobalt blue, ready for flowers to fill it. Gina edged around the boxes until she was in front of the big picture window, and placed the vase squarely in the center of the windowsill, where the sun would shine through it as it had done at college, revealing the murky wet shapes of the flower stems, rigid below the papery petals. She stood for a moment, trying to catch the slippery emotions swirling in her chest. Then a cloud moved outside and the last light of the day deepened the blue of the glass. As it glowed against the blank white sill, something twitched inside her, a memory nudging its way back to the surface. Not of an event but of a feeling, the same bittersweet fizz she’d felt when she’d unpacked her belongings in her university room, waiting for the happiest days of her life to roar around the corner, despite her secret worry that maybe she’d already had them, anticipation sharpened with a lick of fear. Was that a memory? Was it just the same feeling in a different place? Because her life was starting again now too? Gina took a deep breath. She wasn’t going to keep the vase because it reminded her of college or because a visitor might be impressed with her good taste. She was keeping it because she liked it. And when she looked at it, it made her happy. It caught the light, even on a gray day. It was beautiful. She hadn’t bought it for her student rooms. She’d bought it fifteen years ago—for this flat. The blue glass vase glowed in the weak, wintry sunshine, and the white flat didn’t look quite so white anymore. Gina stood for a long minute, letting nothing into her head except the liquid swoop and the deep, jewel-like color. Then, with a more confident hand, she reached into the box for the next ball of bubble-wrap. Lucy Dillon lives in Herefordshire, England with her pair of basset hounds, Bonham and Violet.  Visit her online at www.facebook.com/LucyDillonBooks. […]
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